Four Nations American Football Irish v British Teams 1985-1990

Friendlies (1985-1989) CGL (1989) NCMMA (1990)

DateIrish Team British Team 
1985Dublin Celts32Bristol Bombers (Eng)0
1986Dublin Celts14Wirral Wolves (Eng)0
30.03.1986Dublin Celts16Newcastle Senators (Eng)14
1987Craigavon Cowboys18Newmarket Hornets (Eng)19
1987Belfast Spartans14F14 Tomcats (Eng)42
1989Dublin Celts0Bristol Packers (Eng)7
1989Belfast Spartans (A)12Jersey Senates /
Guernsey Gladiators (ChI)
International Challenge Cup
28.09.1986Carrickfergus Cougars8Ayr Burners (Sco)28
1987Belfast Giants0Ayr Burners (Sco)48
10.04.1988Belfast Giants21Ayr Burners (Sco)0
CGL Playoffs
1989Dublin Celts (A)13Manchester Heroes (Eng)18
1989A26 Bulldogs (H)34Furness Phantoms (Eng)6
1989A26 Bulldogs (A)0Severn Valley Warlords (Eng)5
NCMMA Regular Season
22.04.1990Dublin Celts (A)13Crawley Raiders (Eng)20
29.04.1990Dublin Celts (A)pGranite City Oilers (Sco)p
13.05.1990Dublin Celts (H)pManchester Heroes (Eng)p
22.05.1990Dublin Celts (A)8Stoke Spitfires (Eng)26
03.06.1990Dublin Celts (A)6Walsall Titans (Eng)52
10.06.1990Dublin Celts (H)21Walsall Titans (Eng)26
Irish American Football Teams v British Teams 1985-1990 [Ref: 1-10]

Note: (H) and (A) denotes whether the Irish team played at Home or Away (Road).


The Dublin Celts were formed in 1984, and being the only fully kitted American Football team in Ireland at the time played matches against British opposition in 1985, beating Bristol Bombers 32-6. In 1986 further matches against British opposition were played, with the Celts winning against both the Newcastle Senators and Wirral Wolves (Merseyside). In 1987 the Craigavon Cowboys and Belfast Spartans also played English teams, although both teams lost on this occasion.

The Ayr Burners, from the West Coast of Scotland, played three matches against Northern Ireland opposition from 1986 to 1988. The Carrickfergus Cougars lost 28-8 to the Scottish team in 1986, and the following year the Belfast Giants lost to the Burners 48-0, before winning the return fixture 21-0 in 1988.

In 1989 the Belfast Spartans travelled to Jersey, in the Channel Islands to play a Combined Jersey Senates / Guernsey Gladiators team, tying the match 12-12. The Dublin Celts also lost a friendly match to the Bristol Packers.

In 1989, the Irish League elected to play in the Combined Gridiron League, which was an attempt at uniting the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English Regional Leagues, with Irish teams playing in an Irish Conference. In the playoffs, the Dublin Celts lost 13-18 to the Manchester Heroes in the Duke Premier Division, and The A26 Bulldogs, from Antrim, beat the Furness Phantoms, from Barrow in Cumbria, 32-6 before falling in the Baron First Division Semi-Finals 5-0 to Severn Valley Warlords.

In 1990 the Irish League was back to being Independent, although the Dublin Celts continued playing for one season in the NCMMA (the British Second Level), losing all four matches.


[1] Britball Now (2009) British and Irish Friendly results against foreign opposition [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 16 November 2017]

[2] Britball Now (2009) Results in Euro Competition [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 1 November 2016]

[3] Irish American Football Association (2002) OTHER EVENTS: [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2018]


[4] Belfast Spartans (2020) Player Profiles [Internet] Available from: [Last Accessed 22 April 2020]

[5] Britball Now (2016) Historical League Tables in the UK [1989][1990] [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 6 August 2019]


[6] Anon. (1986) “Cowboys into ‘Shamrock Bowl’” Belfast Telegraph. Monday, September 29, 1986. pg. 18 [Internet] Available online at the Irish Newspaper Archive at: which is a subscription service.

[7] Anon. (1988) “Giants get their revenge’” Belfast Telegraph. Tuesday, April 12, 1988. pg. 20 [Internet] Available online at the Irish Newspaper Archive at: which is a subscription service.

[8] Naughton, L. (1990) “Dublin Celts ready to roll” Evening Herald. Thursday, April 5, 1990. Pg. 52.


[9] Britball Now (2009) Results in Euro Competition [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 1 November 2016]

[10] Britball Now (2009) Results Section [1990] [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 1 November 2016]


[11] Anon. (1990) “American Football: Junior game is on the up!” Sunday Life May 27, 1990. pg. 58

[12] Anon. (1990) “American Football: Cowboys riding high..” Sunday Life August 5, 1990. pg. 43


Thanks to David Turner (Belfast Blitzers)

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 26 January 2021

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2020-2021

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Reserved.

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